Art Collins, a Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnus, will serve as keynote speaker at the 2009 summer commencement. The ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, August 7 in the Multipurpose Center Teaching Gymnasium. Collins is a former Student Government Association President and the first chairman of the FAMU Board of Trustees.
Doors will open for the general public at 5 p.m. and the line of march will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Collins is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Public Private Partnership Inc., an independent strategic planning and political consulting firm. Since 1989, the firm has provided strategic advice to multinational corporations, entrepreneurs, investors, political campaigns, political parties, elected leaders, nonprofits and government organizations.
Collins served as a public liaison within the Obama-Biden Transition Project following the 2008 United States Presidential election. During the 2008 presidential primary and general election campaign, he served as senior political strategist for current United States President Barack Obama. In 2004, Collins was senior advisor to U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Presidential Democratic Nominee during his general election campaign for President of the United States. In 1990, he served as campaign manager for Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander J. Shaw, Jr. Collins was a member of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Democratic Business Council during the tenure of DNC Chairman Ron Brown.
Collins serves as a member of the Board of Directors and as treasurer of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Political Education and Leadership Institute and is chairman of its think tank, the 21st Century Council. He served as a board member and treasurer for both the CBC Political Action Committee and the CBC Foundation. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Alliance for Digital Equality, a bipartisan consumer advocacy organization serving underserved communities on matters that pertain to information technology, telecommunications reform and product awareness.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed him to the Board of Trustees of FAMU in 2001, where he was elected as its first chairman. Following his tenure as a U.S. Senator, the late former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Collins to the Florida Small and Minority Business Advisory Council and the Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board, where he served on the investment committee overseeing more than $2 billion in investments. Collins was also appointed by former U.S. Senator and then Florida Governor Bob Graham to serve on the Governor’s Business Advisory Council on Education and the State Board of Independent Postsecondary Vocational, Technical, Trade and Business Schools. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Crawford appointed Collins to the Florida Consumers' Council, where he served as its chairman. He also served as a member of the Tallahassee-Leon County Florida Planning Commission.
In 1982, Collins started his professional career as a systems engineer and account marketing representative with the IBM Corporation. During 1987 and 1988, he served as a deputy receiver and the legislative affairs director with the Florida Department of Insurance. He was appointed in 1989 by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives to the position of staff director for the Office of Black Affairs, providing technical and political support to African-American legislators.
Collins received his B.S. degree in accounting from the School of Business and Industry at FAMU. He was awarded an honorary doctorate at FAMU’s spring 2009 commencement. He has studied law at the University of Miami School of Law in Miami, Fla., and abroad at the University of Montpellier in Montpellier, France. He is married to Sela Thompson Collins and has five children.